March 20, 2014
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 20, 2014) — After their induction into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes yesterday, two Vietnam veterans went to the memorial simply known as “The Wall.”
The day before, they had accepted the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama for their acts of valor in Vietnam. Twenty-two other veterans were awarded the medal — all but one posthumously — for heroism in Vietnam, Korea and World War II. Family members of those who could not be there accompanied the living recipients in the walk along the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Medal of Honor recipient retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela touched a friend’s name from the wall. Then he stenciled the name onto a blank sheet of paper.
Rodela, a Special Forces Soldier, commanded a company under attack for 18 hours, Sept. 1, 1969, in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam. In spite of his wounds, he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to attend to the fallen and eliminate an enemy rocket position.
Medal of Honor recipient former Sgt. Santiago J. Erevia took pictures at the wall with members of his family.
On a hill near Tam Ky, May 21, 1968, Erevia cleared out Viet Cong bunkers while firing two M16s and throwing grenades. He protected a group of wounded under his charge in the 21st Infantry Regiment and called in medevac helicopters.
Lenora Alvarado, who had accepted a Medal of Honor for her father, was lifted onto the back of a Soldier so that she could touch her father’s name on the wall. Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Kincaid, of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, helped her.
Her father, Spc. 4 Leonard L. Alvarado, had been killed in action, Aug. 12, 1969, after he disrupted an enemy raid and saved the lives of several comrades in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam.
Some who walked along the memorial that day left flowers, some struggled to hold back tears, and all left with memories of heroes whose names were etched on “The Wall.”